Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Trump's trust in his staff is weakening, particularly as the James Comey debacle continues to unfold, and he's relying more and more on his family and himself, the AP's Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire report.

The Comey case was a clear reflection of how Trump's inner circle is getting smaller with each controversial event. His communications staff was reportedly given an hour's notice to figure out how to explain Comey's firing to the public. Three WH officials told AP that Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, learned about the news from TV, but one person close to Bannon challenged that narrative.

One-man show: Despite his communications staff, Trump increasingly views himself as the sole effective spokesperson for his administration, according to AP. By the end of the week, he had reportedly floated the idea of cutting the frequency of Sean Spicer's daily press briefings.

But: He's also considered expanding the comms team, even eyeing Fox News producers to join his staff.

And then there were four: Bannon has reportedly been pushed to the fringe on major decision-making. Instead, Trump's loyal and most trusted inner circle is Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller (the man who delivered the letter to Comey).

Newt Gingrich: "The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don't get a team around that gets it organized," Gingrich told AP. "He's a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line."

Why it matters: We've seen what happens when Trump decides to go it alone — his narrative challenges everything the WH had said about the matter, particularly with his reasoning for firing Comey, and it looks as if Trump is going rogue or, as David Axelrod put it, his staff members are either liars or fools completely left in the dark.

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.